Category: 1980

1980, Music

Humans (1980) by Bruce Cockburn

Cockburn is one of those singer-songwriters I’ve taken my sweet time getting to, especially strange given his nationality. (Or perhaps that’s on purpose on my part.) This is only the second Cockburn album I’ve ever heard despite how prolific he is and despite his citizenship. (He is a bigger deal in my country, I suspect, …

1980, Music

Autoamerican (1980) by Blondie

I didn’t grow up with Blondie like I should have. With their biggest hits accessible enough for mainstream radio, and my dad buying a Greatest Hits record, it’s kind of weird I don’t know them better. But he bought that compilation in my mid teens and they were always too recent to be played on …

1980, Music

Hi Infidelity (1980) by REO Speedwagon

I approached this album with trepidation, mostly because my knowledge of REO Speedwagon consists of two things: their ’80s singles and their supposed career arc from boogie rock band (or something) to pop rock sellouts. (I have no idea how true the latter is, but I read it ant an impressionable age.) I think I …

1980, Music

Double Fantasy (1980) by John Lennon, Yoko Ono

The dirty little secret about this record – if it’s even a secret – is that it was a failure when it first came out: it got bad reviews and it didn’t sell very well. People can write all they want about how it was John Lennon’s return after being a dad, or what have …

1980, Music

Kings of the Wild Frontier (1980) Adam and the Ants

British new wave is nearly always less musically interesting and risky than American new wave. There are many reasons for that and I’m not going to go into them here. I just wanted to mention it because often a lot what passes for “innovation” in British new wave is attitude.

1980, Music

A-Z (1980) by Colin Newman

One of the things I find fascinating about musicians is when a frontman or primary songwriter or leader of a major band goes out and makes a solo record…which sounds exactly like their band, or close enough. It’s like, what was getting in your way in the band that made you think you couldn’t make …

1980, Music

The River (1980) by Bruce Springsteen

We were driving back from a ski resort in Vermont – Bolton Valley or Killington, I don’t remember which – and we got slowed by a massive snowstorm. I was in my tweens or early teens. We were driving up the west side of Lake Champlain and we could only get one radio station from …

1980, Music

Love Zombies (1980) by The Monochrome Set

We all have things we like more than other things, that hit certain buttons or pleasure points. And the moment the title track started I was like “This is for me”. I love carnivalesque music in places where it shouldn’t be, for whatever reason, and the lead off track to an album by a band …

1980, Music

Kilimanjaro (1980) by The Teardrop Explodes

It’s funny what gets labeled “psychedelic”, especially when music wasn’t particularly psychedelic. I’ve never heard this band before – though I’ve heard Cope’s solo music but the label “neo psychedelic” really steers one the wrong way. Yes, it’s a spectrum, but this is pretty typical 1980 British post punk with a couple of major differences: …

1980, Music

Dirty Mind (1980) by Prince

Like so many artists’ early work, I’ve come to this Prince album backwards. And I suspect that a lot of my issues with it come from all the later Prince I’ve heard. Because, on first listen, this record just sounded like Prince in utero or, um, proto Prince.

1980, Music

Lightning to the Nations [The White Album] (1980) by Diamond Head

There are a couple NWOBHM bands that sound a little closer to the thrash metal they would inspire and, from their debut album, Diamond Head appears to be one of them. Nowhere near as dirty and punk as Motorhead, they’re still (at times) grittier and heavier than some of their contemporaries.

1980, Music

Kurtis Blow (1980)

My understanding is that this is like the second hip hop LP ever. If that’s true, it’s certainly one of the most important albums of its era. It’s also worth noting that it is way better than the Sugar Hill Gang’s debut LP, just by the simple fact that Kurtis Blow is the actual performer …

1980, Music

Guilty (1980) by Barbra Streisand

I feel like I grew up with people making fun of these two. I was still an impressionable teenager when I first encountered Mecha-Streisand. And, though the only Barry Gibb impersonation I can think of is relatively recent (i.e. I was an adult when I saw it), I feel like I must have been exposed …

1980, Music

Blizzard of Ozz (1980) by Ozzy Osbourne

Metal was evolving in 1980, maybe not as much as it would in, say, 1983-1984, but still it was evolving. But, like his former band, Ozzy doesn’t seem to want to evolve in the way the younger performers were. Rather, on his debut, he’s chosen a different kind of evolution, the kind that I would …

1980, Music

Never for Ever (1980) by Kate Bush

It’s funny, for me, that I cam to Kate Bush, because I seem to love just about everything she does. I find her music so compelling that I sometimes struggle to put it into words. There are things I like and clearly her particular brand of theatrical performance, interesting arrangements distinct songwriting is very much …

1980, Music

Give Me the Night (1980) by George Benson

Who is this album for, exactly? Is it for fans of scat singing? Is it for fans of smooth soul? Is it for fans of soul jazz? Is it not stupid to assume those groups of people overlap? Apparently it’s not as this album topped both the Soul and Jazz charts (ugh) and went to …

1980, Music

Crocodiles (1980) by Echo and the Bunnymen

Maybe it’s when I came to the Bunnymen but I am constantly underwhelmed by a band that most consider one of the pillars of British Post Punk (a genre I love). They always remind me of other bands (both past and contemporary) and I find myself wondering what’s with all the hype. (Someone once claimed …

1980, Music

Vienna (1980) by Ultravox

I understand that this album represents a fairly major change in the band’s personnel. I’m less sure about how much of a change in sound there was, which should tell you that I don’t know anything about this band. So I can’t say anything about where this fits in their history/evolution.

1980, Music

Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (1980) by Dexys Midnight Runners

If, like me, you are born after this record came out, you likely know one and only song by this band, “Come on Eileen”. (In North America, anyway. Their other biggest hit, the one from this record, was not a hit here.) Moreover, you’ve heard that song so much that you hate it and the …